IN PRAISE OF PUNDITA
I have to direct you to two of Pundita's
posts, both of which are well done and, frankly are illuminating, though in different ways:
First, is her post ( forgive the self-referential nature here) that follows up on EMPs
. Not so much because of the importance of EMP weapons which were being overhyped but in Pundita's superb advice on being a critical consumer of news as she dissects the trajectory of the EMP " story":"So what does it all mean? It means that the consumer of news has to learn to think like an old-school reporter--a reporter well-trained in ferreting out the traditional Four W's of a story: Who (said or did it)?What (what was said or done)?Where (where was it said or done)?When (when was it said or done)?There is also the "H" (How did it come about?) if the reporter has space for it in the report.But given the skill of today's disinformation specialists and the general low quality of reporting, I insert an "I" in my list:Who? What? In What Context?Where?When?How?Asking yourself in what context something is said helps you quickly spot where in the story you've been napping."
One of my mentors as a historian was an old and crusty, toughminded, Social-Democrat. He never thought that Stalin was anything but a bastard and that the Revisionist New Left historians, most of whom he knew personally, were fooling themselves to some extent. I recall his curt admonishment to a young, zealous, graduate student who was going a tad overboard in reporting on an author whose conclusions he, and most likely my mentor, agreed with politically.
" Be the careful when you read something that makes you feel good...because that's when we have a tendency to stop thinking ".
Pundita's second post concerns the very complicated causation driving mass migration from Mexico to the United States.
I'm a student here - my knowledge of Latin American history is, by my standards, weak. Pundita begins to untangle the driver of illegal immigration from the surrounding verbiage that beclouds this issue:"And because of the knowledge deficit, Americans can't argue to Mexicans who have been unwitting pawns of Fox's human export program that they are pawns. Mexico's ruling class has long encouraged the export of their 'troublemakers' --the Mexicans who have the strongest opposition to corruption and inertia in their government. This set in motion a vicious cycle: the more the really outraged Mexicans flee to the US, the fewer troublemakers left in Mexico to contest bad government. This makes conditions in Mexico worse by further weakening opposition to bad government. This causes yet more Mexicans to flee. ......But the World Bank and the IMF have dug in their heels. They've said in effect to Fox's government: Fix the blasted tax code and go ahead with structural adjustments, or forget getting more megabucks WPA-type project loans that we know Mexico will default on anyway. So what we have is a Mexican Standoff. Is there any way to break the standoff? Yes; there are two ways that I've seen. But much depends on Mexico's political parties and the Fox and Bush administration seeing Americans awakened from their long slumber about Mexican affairs. As with so many other problematical situations around the world, the "illegals problem" has flourished in the darkness of inattention. "
During my time as a blogger, Dave Schuyler
has functioned for me not only as an always interesting and perceptive voice in his own right but also as a formidible talent-spotter in the blogosphere. It was he who steered me to Pundita's blog in the first place.
Good work Dave, she's a gem !